Equal gender representation needed at all levels: Klazen

10 Aug 2015 16:00pm
KATIMA MULILO, 10 AUG, (NAMPA) – Deputy Minister of Urban and Rural Development Derek Klazen has called for more effort to ensure equal representation of women at regional and local government level.
He made this call at the annual celebration of the Africa Day of Decentralisation and Local Governance and Local Development, which was held under the theme ‘Deepening decentralisation and local development through effective participation of women in local governance’ at the Katima Mulilo sports complex on Monday.
Klazen said Namibia should deliberate on efforts to ensure that there is gender balance at regional and local government level by giving women equal access and full participation in power, decision-making and leadership.
“The fact that the African Union chose a theme that focuses on women’s participation in local governance is indicative of the fact that their participation in decision-making remains an issue of concern on our continent, and Namibia is not an exception.
“We must be responsive to the needs of our communities and ensure enhanced participation of women as they are important players in governance and forms the majority of our society,” the deputy minister said.
He also used the platform to appeal to all opposition parties which will take part in the 2015 Regional Council and Local Authority elections, set for November this year, to examine their internal party cultures and procedures to ensure that women are not just participants in party activities, but that they are advanced into active leadership.
Klazen said opposition parties must emulate the gender parity in politics and governance as implemented by the Swapo Party through its 50/50 policy, which resulted in an increase in female Members of Parliament and in more women in ministerial positions.
“This year the country will hold both Regional Council and Local Authority elections. It is, however, observed that in certain instances, structures of political parties can also be an obstacle of women participation in governance.
“It is therefore that I appeal to parties to examine their party structures to ensure that women are advanced into active leadership roles,” he stated.
Zambezi regional governor Lawrence Sampofu, who also spoke at the event, said if local governments take their mandates seriously and have sufficient financial and human resources and active participation of women, there will be great potential to improve the quality of life for citizens to access basic social services and address income and gender inequalities.
“The government is aware of the roles which can be played by women in terms of developing this country. When we put our efforts together, we will be able to bring services closer to our people,” he said.
The event, which was attended by governors and mayors from all 14 regions, including chief executive officers of local authorities and regional and local councillors, called for everyone to pay attention and address the challenges they encounter in implementing decentralisation policies and achieving local development.